Home Buyouts Combat Flooding Headaches

By Jeff Neumeyer

March 7, 2011 Updated Mar 7, 2011 at 6:44 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Fort Wayne public works officials are crediting an expanding home buyout program for helping stave off flood damage around the city.

Levels on the Summit City’s three rivers are high, but not causing much trouble.

City officials say we saw only minimal flooding issues with this high water event.

Earthen dikes have been built and concrete walls erected in several locations since the major floods of 2003 and 2005, to hold back water.

But you also can’t discount the fact more and more of the most "at-risk" properties no longer exist.

11 homes perched along the St. Mary's River on Winchester Road have been purchased and demolished.

Now there's just green space where they used to stand.

8 more homes are gone from Park Avenue, where an earthen berm has been added to boost protection for the houses that remain.

About 25 homes on the near southwest side, close to the Junk Ditch, have also been torn down as part of this program.

The goal is to give floodwaters fewer places to wreak havoc.

Bob Kennedy/Ft. Wayne Public Works Director: " We had great success with this flood. It was the 10th highest level for the St. Mary's River at the Muldoon Bridge in Fort Wayne, in history, and yet we had basically no property damage."

More home buyouts are being coordinated throughout a six-county area in Northeast Indiana.

The Maumee River Basin Commission is spearheading the effort.

In Fort Wayne alone more than 120 homes have been acquired for demolition.

Adams County has had another 63; there've been 7 in Dekalb County; 13 residences in a mobile home park up in Steuben were bought out, and more buyouts could be taking place in Noble and Wells Counties in the future.




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